With many of the world’s largest mines operating in jurisdictions of water scarcity, competition for water has become a frequent source of tension between mining companies and other water users. Water stewardship is, therefore, becoming an important strategy for the mining sector to address stakeholder concerns and earn social acceptance. Collaborative partnerships between mining and other water users are a necessary component of advancing water stewardship, but the attributes needed to implement a successful water stewardship strategy are understudied. This paper addresses this gap by examining two exploratory case studies in Peru and Mongolia, where collaboration has been used as a strategy for promoting more sustainable outcomes in water-scarce regions. The findings suggest that while questions remain about who is best suited to lead collaborative partnerships, trust in the entity responsible for leading collaborative partnerships (especially in situations of high conflict) and a willingness to allow each partner to play to their strengths are critical attributes of success. We conclude that the outcome of collective action between mining companies and other water users offers the potential to deliver both business and social value, and to advance more sustainable water management.
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